Sunday, February 6, 2011


By Ian McEwan

To read the summary the inner book flap and Goodreads provide, click on the following link: Goodreads' take on Solar

My own personal opinion is rather bad. I give it a 1 out of 10, meh... bad with other words. 

I have a rule I apply very rarely, which is that I give a novel about 50 pages and then decide if it's worth reading further at all.
With most novels I don't even make that choice, I just keep on reading and get to the end, mostly too soon.

With Solar, I had to struggle to make the quota of 50 pages, and actually abandoned the whole thing while still in its forties.

It's bad, it's truly bad. I've read Atonement and that is a marvellous little piece of literature. I had watched the movie first, which made me wonder about the book and I'm still very much relieved I decided to give it a go, because I rarely read adapted books if I've seen the movie already.
(I used to be different, but it's not so much fun if you know all the key elements - the other way around isn't swell either, so at this time it's either the book or the movie, not both)

I'm born in a dutch speaking country, Belgium to be precise, and have not been fed on English. The education system and my want for good novels, preferably in the language they're written in, have made my English quite good, if you don't mind me saying so. I might write the occasional spelling mistake, or add a syllable to many to some words, but over all I'm content with my knowledge of the beautiful language.

But I do find it annoying if I have to look the meaning of some words too much, especially when you can substitute them with easier ones. I'm not saying 'food' should become 'grub', or 'eloquent' should become 'coherently spoken'.
But reading the first page you come across words as unprepossessing, anhedonic, monothematic, flagrantly, punitively, cuckold. I don't mind the use of those words, but if they come forth in the first page of any novel, what will the rest be like? I don't mind reading difficult language, just don't make it a scientific text I need to suffer through.

Which bring me to my next point of annoyance. I had an inkling from the title that it might have an environmentral theme. The chapters I read were set in 2000, and with solar energy not yet having its boost we see today, the scientific explanation (utterly boring and in my opinion not needed in a work of fiction) he provides us with is too much. I don't need to know why a certain character does something. He's depicted to be a Nobel prize winner and I trust he has good reasons to do what he does, he doesn't need to explain everything.

Of course this novel can become better if you read further. There is mention of a turning point where the gloomy nobel prize winner stirs his life around, but I just haven't got the will to read more.
So many books to read, so little time, so I go on to the next, hopefully better one.

Take care and read my younglings.